tv [untitled] March 7, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm EST
al al-shari, he is the number two man in yemen. he is the number two military commander right now. he's engaged in active operations. and we can confirm that. on zakir, he is a taliban commander in afghanistan. and, again, engaged with us. i can get back to with you more specifics on what we picked up in a classified setting, ma'am, not today. but i can get back you to. >> just to put it, i look forward to having more detail on. that but just to put it in perspective, both of these individuals are engaged in activities to kill americans or our allies, are they not? >> that's correct, senator. >> and so i can't imagine how frustrating it must be, obviously, for our troops to reencounter one -- someone we've had already in detention. and so one of the concerns i've had is what do we do if tomorrow we recapture them in terms of
where do we detain them, to interrogate them? and we, admiral, you testified before the committee last year that, for example, if we got them, we couldn't hold them in afghanistan. we needed a place, a long-term detention facility that that would be helpful. can you help me, both of you, where are we on that and what would we do if we captured the two individuals we talked about again tomorrow in terms of interrogating them? where would we hold them under the law of war? have we solved this problem? have we moved forward at all on it? >> senator, i am confident that we would be able to hold them. each case is looked at individually. so i cannot tell you in advance how we would do it. but if we -- i'd just -- if they're listening, i suggest they don't sleep well at night because we're after them.
and we will hang on to them if we get them. i'm not quite certain where we'll put them. but we will be interrogating them. and we will, if they're alive and we will do our best not to see them on the battlefield again. >> but we don't have a designated facility because we're essentially not taking anyone else in guantanamo as far as i understand it pursuant to the administration's policy. >> there is not a dez ig natur d -- designated facility, no. >> one of the concerns i have, we can't hold them on a ship if we have to hold them in long term detention. you would both agree with me on that principle? >> yes, ma'am. >> yes, ma'am. >> so it's not clear where we would put them if we captured them tomorrow? >> no, ma'am. we have captured, you know, some people and we have been able to facilitate their transfer to a detention facility. >> well, i would hope that we
would not bring those two individuals to the united states of america. because i'd have a hard time explaining that to my constituents when we have the availability of the guantanamo detention facility. i would hope that wouldn't be an often given how dangerous those individuals are. do you think that's a good option, bringing them to the united states? >> that is a policy decision, ma'am. it certainly an option for the president to consider. >> well, why wouldn't we just use the facility there's secure at guantanamo? >> yes, ma'am. i'm probably not the right person to ask the question, ma'am. it's a policy decision. and i have no reservations as long as we have a facility as far as where we put them. >> admiral, is there anything you'd like to add on this? >> ma'am in, the case of syrian, you know, if they are captured in yemen and afghanistan respectively, then obviously we
have agreements with both yemenis and the afghan that's they could be held in their country of origin. so right now for those two individuals, i think that would be the likely solution. >> admiral, i just want to follow up briefly. whether you were before the committee last year for your confirmation hearing, i asked you about al zawahiri. i asked you the scenario if we caught him tonight in pakistan where would we place him for long term detention? and last year you said you weren't sure what we would do in that circumstance. has anything changed since then? >> no, ma'am, nothing has changed since then. >> okay. certainly we couldn't put him in afghanistan. i mean we can't take individuals who we captured outside of afghanistan, for example, in pakistan or yemen and bring them to af to afghanistan for detention. >> that's our practice now is not to do that.
that's correct. it would take a government to government agreement, i think, to do something like that. >> we already have existing issues where we're trying to resolve with the afghans on the secure way to deal with the detainees that they have now and so thank you, both of you. thank you. >> thanks, senator. next is senator nelson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and let me add my appreciation for your service as well. thank you. i've got a number of concerns about our presence in iraq at the current time. i don't think that i have a clear understanding of what our mission is there. it's further complicated by the fact that we've got questions about the new embassy which is of significant in terms of size building with significant number of security contractors located there, perhaps not even
functioning in a security role outside of the embassy. and the embassy continues to be expanded and i understand perhaps the state department now is in charge of establishing what our mission in iraq is. can you, either of you help enliten me about what our mission truly is in iraq today? and how that might relate as well to the providing of security by contractors and the continuing expansion of ability, of a building that seems to be huge in size already? general mattis? >> sir, as far as our mission in iraq, it's going from a military-led effort in iraq over the last eight years to a state department-led mission under the ambassador. there i do have a lieutenant general with a small footprint
on the ground, part of the office of security cooperation in iraq. and they are engaged in everything from the sale of certain military equipment providing contractor-led training to organizing the iraqis who want to go to military schools in the united states. we maintain those relationships. that's what they're doing. as far as security contractors, sir, who actually protect the embassy, those come under the u.s. embassy, under the state department. but having been there recently, they're simply doing the guard duty you expect in a high threat area. as far as the sides of the building, senator, i'm really not confident to respond on that question, sir. >> but it is big, isn't it? >> it's big, sir. >> thank you. >> in trying to understand the role of the contractors there and providing security, and other embassies and other
countries, are we required -- do we require ourselves to provide security or do we look to the host nation to provide security? >> sir, the host nation provides the external security outside the grounds. inside the grounds, it's sovereign territory and we do that. we do it with generally contract guards, many of them are long serving guards there. and then inside the embassy building itself, you have marine security guards. >> is that way it works in iraq and baghdad? >> yes, sir, it is. >> the iraqis provide the external security? >> they do, sir. >> and if our personnel are moving from one place to another, who provides the security? >> that security is provided by our own contract guards. >> what level of security would the contract -- with the iraqis provide externally to the embassy?
>> in that zone when you go there, sir, you see there are checkpoints are set up, some blocks away. they have contropatrol that's g. it's for other embassies as they provide the diplomatic security that is expected around the world. here in washington, d.c., some policemen can provide it because the threat is very low. in a place like baghdad, prudent measures require iraqi army, iraqi police to do the external security in a much more visual, obvious way. >> okay. turning back to iran. if we all know the threat in iran is real, would you discuss the relationship of iran to syria, to hezbollah? and on 60 minutes, secretary
panetta said there was a red line for us. i know in the discussions between mr. netanyahu and the president and the last several days there seems to be some closing of the gap on our different ideas about dealing with iran and the growing concern. what actions, military or otherwise, should we be considering in connection with iran? i don't mean to put you in a classified positionment but just generally could you give us your idea? >> yes, sir. the iranian threat is basically along four lines. there's this nuclear program where they're enriching more uranium than they need for any peaceful purpose. and that went through denial and deception. they have tried to keep that program going. the iaea has tried the best to
monitor it. they've had an unfortunate visit there recently. the second threat is the long range rocket and ballistic missile threat. that one has the attention of all of our friends in the region. as far as how they protect against that. the third threat is the maritime threat. and so we're going to have to be prepared to keep the sea lanes open. and the force threat is what we call the kuds force mois, their secret service, they're surrogates, proxies like lebanese hezbollah and other terrorists that they fund. and on that one it's largely a police and intelligence driven effort as we try to contain that but also our special forces work that issue very, very closely. so four basic threats and we look to how we can check each one of those working alongside some of the most enduring, long-term partnerships we've had in some of the countries out there. >> well, since this is a budget
hearing, in your opinion, does the current budget proposal deal sufficiently with the kinds of threats and the responses that we are now providing to those threats? >> it absolutely does, senator nelson. i can say this though because i'm first among equals when it comes to the combatant commanders. basically, if i need something, i go to secretary panetta and i get it. so i'll just tell that you i'm well resourced, sir. >> admiral, from your perspective? >> sir, i'm also extremely well resourced. >> you don't think that the budget was prepared under different assumptions and the circumstances have now changed with regard to that? >> no, sir. >> admiral? general? >> we'll always have to adapt, sir. but right now i think the strategy is well supported by the budget. >> and if circumstances were to
change to where military action was required, would we be having to change circumstances then as well? >> senator, active operations along those lines would be very expensive. obviously, that's one of the characteristics of war. we're trying to keep the stabili stability. one more day to allow secretary clinton and the diplomats to convince iran this is not in their best interest to go the way i'm going now. >> one more question if i might, mr. chairman, on the budget. would that apply to -- in any engagement that we might have in syria as well? very expensive, probably not provided for in the budget. >> i'm absolutely certain it would apply, sir. >> admiral?
>> yes, sir. >> thank you, gentlemen. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator nelson. senator cornin. >> thank you. thank you for your service, gentlemen, to our country. i want to focus a little bit on iran, not surprisingly in light of your testimony general mattis where you say that their wreckless behavior and bell akoes rhetoric create a high potential for miscalculation in the region. and another area of your testimony you say it's perhaps -- represents perhaps the greatest immediate and long-term threat to regional stability. i wonder if you would agree with the characterization of a think-tank here if washington, the center for strategic and budget airy assessments when they define iran's strategy as anti-access, anti-denial strategy. and designed to take advantage of the, they say, of the unique
geographic attributes of the persian gulf rather than confront the u.s. forces directly, iran could attempt to use ballistic missiles, terrorist proxies to coerce gulf states to deny u.s. forces permission to operate from a sovereign territory. without going on to describe that further, i wonder if you would agree with that characterization of iran's strategy or if you have a different way you would characterize it. >> senator, i would agree that any access area denial is the modus operandi. but i would also add that to the two threats they outlined i would add the ballistic missile, long range rocket capability they have. >> if the united states had a reliable source of oil from a
friendly source, would we be as concerned about iran's threat to block the straight? >> i believe we would be, senator, because of the vital interest to the world economy which would have immediate and significant impact on our own and our own way of life if one nation, iran, the only nation that threatened to close those straigh straits did so. >> and just to list the areas in the middle east where iran has its very clear fingerprints, i think it's help follow to remind ourselves from time to time just how they operate in lebanon through hezbollah, a terrorist organization and the west bank and gaza. we know that iran is reportedly received funding -- or hamas, i should say, has received funding
from iran. we know, of course, that in iraq that iran was the source of many of the explosively formed penetrateors that killed united states servicemen and, of course, in afghanistan and now in syria. is there any other place that i left off the list that iran's fingerprints are most obvious? >> absolutely, sir. i would add yemen. i would add -- they've tried to get involved in the internal aspectses of -- in bahrain of the shaking out there of the opposition to the government and the efforts by the government to engage that opposition, we believe, iran is probably trying to undercut that because they would nont wat want to see the elements get together and come up with a bahrainy solution. in kuwait, they had the spies
captur captured. they've gone all over the place, sir. they enjoy this sort of thing. i would add that in gaza, however, hamas pulling out on assad i don't know what the effect is going to be on iran continuing to fund them since they've just pulled out support from assad when obviously tehran wanted them to continue supporting assad. so we'll have to watch and see what happens there. >> what do you think that iran's reaction would be if the -- if there was a coalition forces that intervened in syria to stop the bloodshed there and the assad regime? would they sit quietly on the sidelines? >> no, sir. they would try through their proxies and surrogates to do some mischief there. i don't think you would see anything overt. i think they would try to keep
their frame off because it would get them cross wired with an international organization of some kind. >> i know you eluded to al qaeda activity as opportunistic in the region. and part of their activity is to create sectarian strife and conflict. but it strikes me that although al qaeda is a nonstate actor that its goals are share a lot in common with that of iran in terms of creating instability and conflict in the region which then provides space for them to grow in power and influence. do you agree with that or do you have a different view? >> coming from two different directions, obviously, the al qaeda would prefer to see shias killed as they're doing in iraq,
killing innocent shias there. iran, on the other hand, heightens the tensions between sunni and shia from a shia perspective and, frankly, i don't know what the advantage they see accruing to them self to themselves for it. it goes to your point. they're both doing the same thing. they just come from a different direction on zblit admiral mcraven, do you have any views on that? >> i think general madisttis ha characterized and captured it well. >> i think the challenge that the united states has is that israel has said they will do whatever they need to do in their national self-interest to prevent iran from gaining a nuclear capability that would threaten their existence. secretary panetta has said that gaining a nuclear capability would be a red line that iran would not be able to cross. the president of the united states said yesterday that his policy was not one of
containment. it was to stop iran. i'm wondering where on this continuum -- you've talked, i think eloquently, about delay for a day or week or months. having said that -- i think to senator mccain that nothing that we have attempted so far by way of sanctions has appeared to deter iran on this pathway toward a nuclear weapon, where do you see this headed? >> sir, i -- i hate to speculate on something like this because in public, i cannot give any -- i cannot make any casual statement. however, iran has obviously missed several opportunities to engage positively with the iaea, to respond to the united nations security council resolutions.
they -- they're very much a problem. and i don't see this going in the right direction until the full effect of the sanctions can accrue. and i say "until" because even now as we see inflation going up, unemployment going up, the internal frictions have got to start telling here. at some point i think the iranian people are going to question is this the right direction. so if we can keep this in a diplomatic, economic track and get full -- full advantage of what these sanctions are doing and the international isolation is doing, this country basically lacks any significant strategic ally. there's some that have blocked for their own reasons resolutions in the united nations, regrettably. but i don't see them having allies, and i don't count that little fellow down in venezuela as a very significant ally. >> if i could just conclude on
this, mr. chairman, so it sounds to me like we have a race. one to see if sanctions are successful in causing the regime to implode and thus deny their aspirations for nuclear weapon. but if that doesn't occur fast enough, there's another parallel track where they are on a pathway to achieve a nuclear capability. and the question is, i guess for us and for the world, is who's going to win that race? sanctions or nuclear weapon? >> yes, sir. i'm not sure that iran needs to implode. i think that they're -- they can come to realization that this organization that's running the country right now with these cosmetic elections they're running, they're not real, free and fair elections, that this leadership is not what those people deserve. and at some point they would say, we want to stop this program and somehow those voices would be heard in a way that
convince them that this was -- they had -- the best we can do otherwise, sir, is delay them. only the iranian people can stop this program. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, very much, senator cornyn. senator webb. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me begin, actually, the same place i began last year with you, general mattis. but also this comment extends to admiral mcraven as well. if you look at these two gentlemen's records of service in the military, the ultimate reward of competent leadership is command. and we look at the number of times that command shows up on both of these leaders' military bio, there's no two better people we could have in the positions that you are in. and you have my thanks for the contributions that you're making on behalf of our country. i'd like to clarify something
just as a result of the discussion that has occurred during this hearing. i don't think it's accurate for those who are pushing for a faster pace move toward military involvement in syria to -- to characterize those, including myself, who have been asking for us to be very careful in terms of how we define the opposition movements as simply some reductionist statement about al qae qaeda. i've put the question to general dempsey. i've put it to director of intelligence clapper. my concern that we -- we really move forward in a careful way to define how much of this opposition is domestic, how much of it is regional and, indeed, whether or not al qaeda has been a player in that.
and i think this is -- in all of these situations we've seen over the last year, it's really important to stay on an examination of those realities. as -- general mattis, as you pointed out in your opening statement, a good deal of what has been going on has been, for lack of a better term, the rupture of the social contract such as it was in this region. and, again, as you said, it's not predictable. there's going to be democratmocn some of these countries. in fact, the implications of what has been happening are going to play out over years. we're just not going to see the quick resolution in a way that we can say there's a democracy or something else. and so it's very important to be careful in terms of what sort of military assistance would take place if it were to take place
and with whom. and i think i'm hearing that today, and i'm -- i'm glad that i am. one of the pieces that i think has been missing from this discussion, not just here, but in other hearings, is how we should be approaching china. and what we should be expecting and asking from china in terms of asking for their assistance in increasing the stability in the entire region. i think this is a good opportunity to get some feedback from you, general mattis, on this. we've been talking about iran. we've been talking about russia. there was a resolution proposed in the foreign relations committee that originally did not even mention china's participation, the veto with the security council. resolution, proposed security council resolution at the united
nations. in the region, we, i think, should be expecting more out of china in terms of stepping forward to attempt to -- to resolve some of these issues. pakistan calls them their most important friend. we've got the sanctions that we've been attempting to move on iran, and we're not seeing clear assistance there. with respect to the situation in syria, i've been asking, why -- why would they -- why would china not support the type of resolution that went before the security council? well, let's -- let's be honest here. this is a system of government that has not been afraid to repress its own people. probably the most glaring example of a repressive regime that's survived over the past 22, 23 years is the chinese regime that sent tanks and troops on to its own people at
tiananmen square. general, can you give us an idea of what it's been like to -- to interact with the chinese in the region in which you're responsible? >> i can't give you too much on that, senator. i'll tell you on counterpiracy efforts, there's a collaborative effort, pretty fair -- at the low tactical level, ship commander to ship commander. no problems between us out there on the station in the gulf of aiden. i noticed that on iran, that china did come out with a rather strong statement that iran getting a nuclear weapon was not in their interest and they did not support that -- that effort. so i don't have very much contact with the chinese in my region. it's very, very